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The Things Shoes Can Tell You

The astute Worship Minister develops skills in learning to assess the subtle nuances needed to adapt Christian worship to various recognizable groups.  Worship in a Korean congregation is not the same as worship in rural North Dakota.  The skills needed to analyze the makeup of a congregation to allow for those minuscule adjustments in scripture readings, musical styles, and song selection can make all the difference between "That really helped me out," and "We'd like to help you out -- where'd you come in?"

In The Field Guide of evangelicus americanus, noted author and researcher Dr. Frederick von Hultmann gives the modern worship minister the tools needed to quickly and effectively assess who is out there staring back at them.  The following is an excerpt from Chapter 12, Assessment by Shoes.


Since tilting your eyes downward gives the appearance of personal humility, many Worship Ministers adopt this posture when interacting with members of their congregation.  This makes the use of shoes in taking a quick inventory of the makeup of who is there for worship the perfect tool for the well equipped worship minister.  Here are some examples of conclusions research has demonstrated can be based on shoes:



Preferred style: Country-western gospel
Favorite worship band: Randy Travis, Willie Nelson
Favorite hymn: Ghost Riders in the Sky
Identifiable characteristics in worship:  Carries sidearms.  Likely to shout, "Go Aggies!" during the high points of worship.
Other traits:  Noted for chewing tobacco.  This is also true for the males.
Favorite Bible: New American Standard




Preferred style: Contemporary praise music
Favorite worship band: Mars Hill, Hillsong, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin
Favorite hymn: God is Able, One Thing Remains
Identifiable characteristic: No sign of intelligent life before 10:00AM, applauds for nearly anything the happens on stage
Other traits: Bible has stupid looking homemade cover
Favorite Bible: ESV




Preferred style: Loud
Favorite worship band: Joshua "Upwordz" Huihui
Favorite hymn: Battle Song by Lacrae
Identifiable characteristic: No sign of intelligent life before 10:00PM, holds up a fist, shouts "Dam-rite!" during high points of the service (this must be a reference to a religious ceremony associated with the dedication of dam sites).
Other traits: Most are able to read
Favorite Bible: Holy Bible for Bikers (NIV).  



Preferred style: Early contemporary
Favorite worship band: Michael W. Smith, Sandi Patti
Favorite hymn: Awesome God (Mullins)
Identifiable characteristics: Pretends to enjoy contemporary worship but hides cassette tape collection under their bed
Other traits: Clothing is generally very much in style for whatever people were wearing in the previous decade
Favorite Bible: NIV


Preferred style: Does not appear to matter
Favorite worship band: Whichever one they manage to remember
Favorite hymn: "Yes.  Just a minute. I'm sure I've got one.  Hold on now."
Identifiable characteristics: Needs to say on meds
Other traits: Rare in the general population, but quite common in Sunday worship
Favorite Bible: Whichever one was in in the back seat of the car just before they came into the building



Preferred style: Hymns with piano and electric organ
Favorite worship band: George Beverly Shea
Favorite hymn: Anything before 1960
Identifiable characteristic: Often known by other names, such as "Senior Pastor" or "Chairman of the Board."
Other traits: Uniquely gifted by regularly having every other person in worship tell them all kinds of things.  This helpful information is generally passed on to the worship leader by prefacing a comment with, "Well, everyone in the church feels that you ..."

Favorite Bible: Not the one you used last Sunday in worship


Preferred style: John Phillips Sousa
Favorite worship band: The Marine Corps Band
Favorite hymn: Battle Hymn of the Republic
Identifiable characteristic: Constantly wants to talk about the greatness of the Roman Empire
Other traits: Frequently tells people he wants to put them into large arenas to battle gladiators
Favorite Bible: Latin Vulgate



Preferred style: Does not like music
Preferred worship band: Does not like music
Favorite hymn: Does not like music
Identifiable characteristics: Exhibits absolutely no artistic ability or interest in music or or the fine arts
Other traits: Operates the sound system during worship.  Only turns up microphones during the second sentence of whatever someone is trying to say.
Favorite Bible: Does not like to read


Preferred style: Dating Jesus music
Preferred worship band: They're all really good
Favorite Hymn: I'm Running to Your Arms
Identifiable characteristics: Majored in psychology.  Asks people if they need a hug.  Tries to look intelligent when listening to what people say.
Other traits: Secretly loves Barry Manilow
Favorite Bible: The Message


Preferred style: Indy Music
Preferred worship band: Death Cab for Cutie
Favorite Hymn: Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes
Identifiable characteristics: Saw Blue Like Jazz on opening night
Other traits: Thinks Campus Ministers are psychologically normal
Favorite Bible: iPad




Preferred style: Whatever they can play
Preferred worship band: Whichever one they're in
Favorite worship hymn: Whichever one they recently composed
Identifiable characteristics: Talented, always late for things, lots of interpersonal problems and hangups
Other traits: This is your worship band, bro.  Live with it
Favorite Bible: huh?





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